Back at the football

It’s been a long time. The last football match the blog attended was back on Feb. 29 in Glasgow. Since then, well, you know what’s happened. But finally it was possible, permissible, perhaps even desirable, to have fans back a lower level games. And so it was off to Durham FC for a first taste of pre-season action.

Silksworth goalie Joe Clayton deals with a Durham FC corner.

In different circumstances, other games might have been more attractive. But, with several clubs asking for fans to sign up the day before or limiting access to season ticket holders only, the chance to drop in on a newly-formed club 10 minutes from home was the simple, hassle-free option. Plus, having met some of the Durham coaching staff earlier in the summer, it felt like a good chance to catch up with how things were going now that football is allowed to be a contact sport again.

action 8
Action from a pre-season friendly between Durham FC (red & black) and Silksworth CW.

First impressions: there’s potential at the George V Playing Fields. Sure, it’s nothing special at the moment, just a roped-off pitch with a couple of collapsible dug-outs that wouldn’t look out of place on the Prime Minister’s next camping holiday. But once the paperwork is sorted, Durham FC has plans to make more of a permanent facility. With longer term investment, this natural bowl could turn into a decent little community football ground, something that Framwellgate Moor Parish Council should be keen to support.

On the field, though, things were hard work. Durham was up against a strong Silksworth CW team. The visitor plays in a higher division and is likely to be among the frontrunners in the upcoming Wearside League campaign. The difference was stark. Where Silksworth’s players maintained a constant flow of communication, organising each other’s game and directly the action around the field, Durham’s are still getting to know each other. Defensively, cracks soon appeared and Harry Munday was the beneficiary as he plundered two early goals.

The home team showed some hard work, with a burly forward putting in a brave shift up front for little reward. The only Durham goal, shortly before half-time, was a result of a goalkeeping howler, but it did spark an upswing at the start of the second half.

Silksworth’s players complained that they hadn’t kept up the tempo after the interval, Durham’s found some extra width and, on occasion, looked threatening. It wasn’t enough to change the course of the game – Silksworth stepped up in the final minutes to add three more goals – but it did offer some signs of where this team might go.
And that’s what pre-season is all about. A team that only came together a month ago has a lot to learn and will learn faster from absorbing the lessons of stronger, more experienced opposition. Manager Nathan Beadle wanted a tough pre-season for his players and, today, he got one.

For more pics from this game, click here.

third goal
Adam Cullen (11) scores Silksworth CW’s third goal in a pre-season friendly against Durham FC.

Game details
George V Playing Fields, Framwellgate Moor, Durham, England
Friendly, Aug. 22, 2020
Durham FC 1 (Howell) Silksworth CW 7 (Munday 2, Cullen, Hunter, Baxter, Winthrop, Mulvain)

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